Monday, December 31, 2007
5. When Sinners Say "I Do", by Dave Harvey. Harvey begins where all aspects of our lives must begin, with the knowledge of God and ourselves. Good theology leading to good marriages makes for a good book.
4. Sermon on the Mount, by Dan Doriani. As we preached through the Sermon on the Mount this past year, many life changing truths were discovered. Doriani's book was key in my preparation as well as personal growth.
3. Decline of African-American Theology, by Thabiti Anyabwile. Excellent work. A better title would have been, "We Slipt Along Ways Baby: Theology from Jupiter Hammon to T.D. Jakes."
2. Amish Grace, by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher. After the murderous shootings at Amish School in Nickel Mines, PA, the Amish showed the world what forgiveness really looks like. Great and informative read!
1. The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. I know, its not fair. But every year it remains on my list without peer. Every time I read it I learn something more of God's glory and grace to me in Jesus Christ.
Lastly, here are a couple of books I read that I found disappointing. I am sure some found these books to their liking; I was not among them.
From the Hood to the Hill by Barry C. Black. I really thought I was going to enjoy this autobiographical account of the first black chaplain of the US Senate. Unfortunately, the book was too self-congratulating and indulgent. I suppose that is the nature of autobiographies, but this one was more than this reader could take. Admittedly, I could not even finish it.
If God is So Good, Why Are Blacks Doing So Bad, by James Dixon. This book actually is not a bad book except it was written by a preacher. If it had been written by someone else, I might have thought better of it. However, coming from the pen of a preacher, I expected to hear not just the problem but the solution, namely the gospel. Unfortunately, I did not. Dixon did a good job in diagnosing the issues plaguing Black America but did not offer the only true and lasting solution, namely the application of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of life. Admittedly, the problem was more my expectation than the author's intention. I just hoped that two would match. They did not.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Both the "five solas" and the Synod of Dordt's doctrines of total (or radical) depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance (or preservation) of the saints provided the skeletal system for theology in the American colonies. Nearly all African American Christians inherited the "five solas" as a general Protestant framework over and against the Roman Catholic view of authority and justification and the Arminian view of man and grace rejected at Dordt. African Americans gained exposure to these views of salvation through their earliest contact with Europeans in the colonies, especially in the North. Southern slave testimonies and northern writers reveal a "soft orthodoxy" consistent with Reformation solas, with some even putting forth a stronger Calvinistic view of salvation owed largely to the influences of the Great Awakening and early Baptists in the South (p. 175).
In reading this I would not help but recall the words of Scripture in Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls."
Monday, December 24, 2007
Siera Lynn and Sarah Nicole
The twins and Ana Elise
The Carter Kids being the Carter Kids!
God Bless You!
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Bible says, "...Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise..." (Matt. 21:6). Even so, out of cartoons for children.
O, that men would praise HIM!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
"Dr. Thurman denied the uniqueness of Jesus implied in the formula 'the only begotten Son'. He believed that 'any who is as sure of God as was Jesus, can hear for himself: 'Thou art my son, my beloved, this day I have begotten thee.' Moreover, becoming the son of God in the sense of acquiring the mind of Christ and having a similar relationship to God, according to Thurman, 'may be achieved without any necessity whatsoever of making a God out of Jesus (p. 152).'"
The liberal theology of Howard Thurman laid the ground work for the liberation theology of James Cone.
The appeal of liberation theology is the expediency and the immediacy of the need. It seeks to address the existential cry of the image of God for freedom, equality, and peace. Yet, the cyanide in this kool-aid is that it perverts the person and work of Jesus into nothing more than an anthropocentric exorcism. Subsequently, Jesus is only relevant in so far as He is willing and able to address my core issues. Thus, I am able to mold Jesus into the god of my issues. This Jesus inevitably becomes more like me than I like Him. Daily this Jesus is being conformed to my image (real and imagined), instead of me being conformed to His image (eternal and true).
Howard Thurman popularized it. Cone made it academically viable. African-America theology has been on a steady decline ever since.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Last evening our Children's Sunday School put on our Annual Christmas Program. Every year this is a much anticipated event as their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm is demonstrated in their first class performance. Every year parents, family, and friends come from all around to see what production the Southwest Children will put together. This year was no different. This year the lower grades put on A Christmas Present and the older children performed, The Mystery of the Manger. Here is just a small excerpt to one of the songs they performed from the musical The Mystery of the Manger by Celeste Clydesdale. We had to change a few things to fit within our cultural context (if you know what I mean :-), yet the message was still the same. Sounds familiar? The video is amateurish by yours truly and does not do justice to these young performers. Hopefully you can still get the message.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Jupiter Hammon (1711-1806): In the Bible, we are told what man is. That he was first made holy, in the image of God, that he fell from that state of holiness and became an enemy to God, and that since the fall, all imaginations of the thoughts of his heart are evil, and only evil and that continually. That the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be. And that all mankind was under the wrath and curse of God and must have been forever miserable if they had been left to suffer what their sins deserve.
This was to demonstrat that all humanity (black and white) were under sin and in the same spiritual condition of needing Savior. It also became the foundation for biblical and theological arguments for freedom. In quoting Lemuel Haynes, Thabiti writes:
However, resident in all people despite the Fall was "an innate principle, which is unmoveably placed in the human Species." That innate principle was "Liberty and freedom," which Haynes styled as "a Jewel which was handed Down to man from the cabinet of heaven...Coaeval [sic] with his Existance [sic]" and proceeding "from the Supreme Legislature of the universe." Man's equality with man was evident in the universal impulse toward freedom written by God into the very nature of man and the laws of nature. Efforts to deny this impulse were futile attempts to deny one's self in the case of the bondsman or to usurp the prerogative of God in the case of the enslaver.
In a word, "Awesome!"
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The earliest black Christians maintained a tendency toward a Reformed or orthodox view of God as sovereign Ruler of all events. African-Americans built this understanding upon the teachings of Scripture and aligned it with the historic definitions of Christianity. A high view of God's sovereignty allowed early black Christians, despite the horrors of slavery, to trust that God had the necessary power to deliver them from oppression and that he would ultimately do so. Any perceived contradictions between this doctrine of God and the evil afflicting black people were resolved in the character of God. Such a belief implied at least two conclusions. First, these saints concluded that the events of their lives remained in the sovereign control of God. And second, they concluded that the proper response before the ineffable wisdom and providence of God was humility and faith. Both resolutions stirred more faith in God (p. 97).